Tuesday was a disappointing day for all of those associated with Ireland’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.
Ireland finished behind South Africa and France in the recommendation by an independent panel to whether who is best suited to host the competition in six years time.
There were varying levels of criteria which had different weighting attached and the Irish bid fell behind in many of them, most notably in terms of stadiums and general infrastructure.
However, the bid team and the IRFU have stated that they will do everything in their power to secure the votes they need over the next two weeks before a secret ballot takes place in London on November 15.
Ireland can take some comfort in that the conclusion from the independent report was that all three countries are capable of hosting the tournament successfully.
However, will all the money that went into providing an independent assessment process, there would be considerable outrage if the voting unions didn’t take heed of the recommendation and this is something which NZ Rugby CEO, Steve Tew, alludes to as he all but confirms their votes will be going to South Africa.
“From a New Zealand point of view our board made a decision early on that if the process was seen to have worked well and been done fairly and professionally then it would be very hard not to vote the way of the recommendation,” Tew told the NZ Herald.
“While the scores are relatively close there was a clear margin. South Africa is the best candidate so we’ll be guided by the recommendation and vote accordingly.
Ireland will hope they can convince enough unions to give them the votes they need but it certainly looks to be an uphill battle based on the events of this week.